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Monday, August 30, 2010

Not a fan of Vampires, Wizards, and Ghosts?

Except for the occasional Harry Potter or Charlie Bone, I am not a big fan of the fantasy genre.  Please don't get me started on Vampires!  I know that I am not alone, as I have students asking for "real" books all the time in the library.  Well, a group of 21 YA authors have come together and created a website to showcase their upcoming books, all contemporary realistic fiction--yeah!  Their aim is to promote the importance of realistic fiction for teens, as well as connect with their teen fans (and librarians!).  There are some big name authors in the group, as well as some debut authors. 

You can find the list of authors on the "YA Contemps" website, where you will find out about their books, websites, author events, as well as blog posts by different authors.  My favorite feature of this brand new website is the "Teen Thursday" post...each week a different author posts about something they remember from being a teen...great fun!

And they want you, their fans, to interact!  Check in with the website...comment the books.  They have also issued a challenge.  Read 18 of the 21 books listed in the next year.  Think you can do it?  I'm sure going to try!

In honor of this new website, I thought that I would post my "Top 10 Favorite Realistic Fiction Books for Teens."  (Not my original idea, as I've seen a few other blogs with a version of this).  But then I realized that might be pretty hard for me to narrow down, and might only include books from Chris Crutcher and Sarah Dessen.  So I changed it to Books and/or Authors (who typically write realistic fiction) in order to give you a few more choices!  And please note, these are MY personal favorites, something I rarely make a list of.

"Top 10 Books and/or Authors: REALISTIC FICTION"

1. Chris Crutcher: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE his books.  If forced, I would choose "Whale Talk" as a favorite, but he has written so many wonderful books, a person should not be limited to reading just one.

2. Sarah Dessen: Would it sound funny or unoriginal if I used the LOVE, LOVE, LOVE phrase again so soon?  I can't even pick a favorite...hmmm, I'll keep thinking.  Just go ahead and read them all while I'm deciding.

3. Maureen Johnson: Again, so many books which are great fun. "13 Little Blue Envelopes" is my definite fav of her books though, no question.  I want someone to give me 13 little blue envelopes, and am currently contemplating do so for my kids when they get older.

4. Gordon Korman: Wow, I clearly need another statement other than LOVE.  But I do.  It's a toss up between "No More Dead Dogs" and "Son of the Mob" for my top choice.

5. "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series by Ann Brashares. I think it should be mandatory for every girl to be issued a pair of these pants, a few of these friends...and maybe a boyfriend from Greece.

6. "Pay it Forward" by Catherine Ryan Hyde.  Did this book spark the movement or did she simply make it popular?  I'm not sure, but I do know that this book is so powerful that it's impact has stayed with me all these years later. 

7. "Out of my Mind" by Sharon M. Draper.  It is the teacher in me that was so moved by this book.  I won't lie, it made me cry.  I think it should be required reading at all new teacher trainings in every school district in the country.

8. "Swim the Fly" by Don Calame.  This is likely the most hilarious book on the list, and one of the funniest books that you will ever read.  Do you have teenage boys?  Teach/work with teenage boys? Were a teenage boy or ever dated a teenage boy?  A MUST READ!

9. Laurie Halse Anderson: A master of many genres, she should probably be much higher on my list.  The problem is, I currently love "Chains" and "Forge" so much and I consider those historical fiction, so she didn't come to mind right away.  But "Wintergirls" and "Speak" are definitely on the top of any list.

10. Walter Dean Myers: Again, another author that should be much higher on the list, and my apologies for not considering this masterful writer sooner.  I love him simply for the fact that his goal is to write excellent, high interest books for boys.  There is no question that he has succeeded.  Could you possibly pick a favorite title?  I don't think so.  And if you ever get a chance to hear him speak in person, you MUST go.

Have I ever successfully created a true "Top 10" list?  No.  Ask my students and they will tell you that my "Top 10" lists typically include 12-14 items/books/authors.  I just hate to leave something out.  If I was allowed a few more slots, I would certainly include Joan Bauer, John Green, David Levithan...okay, okay, I'll stop.

So, let the debate begin.  Do you agree with me?  What are your favorites?  Are there any on the list that you love too?  I cannot wait to hear what you think!


Jordyn said...

Coming over from the blog hop...

I also made one of these "top 10" lists on my blog, except I limited mine to YA novels. I haven't read much of Chris Crutcher but I'm definitely in love with the book DEADLINE... so incredible.

Jordyn, Ten Cent Notes

Kathy Martin said...

Thanks for the list! I am one of those librarians who love vampires and werewolves and faeries and... So it is nice to be reminded of some authors who write contemporaries.

brave chickens said...

I agree with you. I'm not much a fan of fantasy (Harry Potter is one of the few fantasy series I can read).

Contemp. YA Lit, woohoo! :D


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